PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - It’s a known fact: everybody loves barbecue. Also a known fact; there are a lot of different types of barbecue.
At Cou-Yon’s in Port Allen, they do a little bit of everything, and the lines get long quickly.
“It’s a running joke at home,” said happy customer, Jason Ramsey. “Anytime we travel, we’ll eat barbecue and ask, ‘On the Cou-Yon’s scale, how was it?’”
If you have a grading scale with your name on it, you're probably doing something right.
Brothers, Michael and Paul Mladenka, own Cou-Yon’s Cajun Bar-B-Q, located at 470 N Alexander Ave. in Port Allen. Surrounded by 60 other employees who go home smelling like smoked meat every day, the brothers began their love affair at a young age while helping their grandfather.
“We just fell in love with bringing people together with food at a young age,” Paul said. “That’s what it’s about.”
“It’s still very much a community binding element,” Michael said. “Food always brings people together. Being in south Louisiana, everybody’s events are focused around foods.”
There’s no shortage of food coming out of Cou-Yon’s. The kitchen cooks for nearly 1,000 people every day.
Two big smokers lay at the heart of it all. The larger of the two can hold up to 1,500 lbs of meat.
They burn through around ten cords of Louisiana pecan wood every month to get their signature flavor.
The operation is all about efficiency. From prepping the food to taking orders, making deliveries and working in the kitchen, barbecue is a 24/7 business. There’s always something cooking, including the one thing they sell the most of these days.
“Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes,” Michael said.
Cou-Yon’s smoked and loaded potatoes, stuffed with all the fixins’ and topped with your choice of meat and seafood, fly out of the kitchen. But those spuds aren’t what put Cou-Yon’s on the map.
Brisket is... in particular, the moist deckle cut. A lot of places turn that into chopped brisket. At Cou-Yon’s, they slice it up.
And there’s even more than that: spare ribs, baby back ribs, chicken. The menu is a seemingly endless list of smoked, drool-worthy items.
And the secret is out. People come from all over to try this 'cue.
In the parking lot, it’s not uncommon to see license plates from Texas or even as far as Tennessee, places that know a lot about barbecue. But they’re in Port Allen, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown Baton Rouge.
“I’ve eaten brisket all over the south,” said Rich Teubner. “This is the best.”
“I’m an Alabama fan, and I like this better than Dreamland barbecue in Tuscaloosa,” Philip Belcher said.
Those are some bold claims. They may not let Belcher back into Alabama with talk like that. And if they don’t? You can always get your smoked meat fix right there on N Alexander.
While their menu has plenty of Louisiana flair, the foundation is very elemental: wood, fire, smoke, meat, and time.
“I don’t get tired of coming to work,” one employee said. “I’d rather be at work.”
“It’s fun for us,” Paul said. “We get to watch it every day.”
Every day they smell like delicious.
For those who don’t feel like making the trek across the mighty Mississippi, the brothers are planning on installing a trailer at a permanent location near the intersection of Perkins Road and Acadian Thruway.
They hope to open the windows in April. Food will be available for pickup or delivery through DoorDash.
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